Page Archive for October, 2008

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Many of you have expressed interest in trying our wines and I can now announce some exciting news to that end.  We’ve decided to launch a limited, unfiltered version of our 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon in two special restaurants:  Treadwell’s in Port Dalhousie and Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar in Toronto.   After two great tastings with sommeliers James Treadwell (Treadwell’s) and Jamie Drummond & Krista Brodhurst  (Jamie Kennedy), it became apparent that we all shared a similar passion for viticulturally-focused craft wine.  I was pleased to hear that they understand the amount of work it takes to produce small lots of wine from heavily thinned crops.  The sacrifice of quantity for quality is not friendly to the winery or vineyard bottom line, unless the resultant wines merit being sold in the Ultra-premium sector of the market.  My meetings with these sommeliers gave me the confidence that we are proceeding in the right direction with our brand, and that all the risk and hard work will be worth it in the end.

Within the next couple of weeks, each restaurant will be allotted 12 bottles of the Unfiltered Cab featuring a limited edition label complete with detailed viticulture and winery notes.  I can’t wait for your feedback.

www.treadwellcuisine.com

www.jamiekennedy.ca

Friday, October 17th, 2008

After much thought and deliberation, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve finally decided on a name for our winery.  Our vision started back in the 80s with five rows of Pinot Noir.  From this point on our wine will be known as “Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowrey Vineyards” or simply “Five Rows”.  Essentially, all my wines will be made from a small portion of the Lowrey Vineyard crop (a couple rows of this and a couple rows of that) and that was a genesis of the “Rows” idea.  The more we thought about it, the number Five was very meaningful to us, because of the original Pinot planting and because my father and I are among five generations of Lowrey’s to farm our land.  Our packaging concept will emphasize the scarcity and hand-made feel we are trying to promote with the Five Rows brand.  In the coming weeks we will launch a Five Rows website that will elaborate on the scope of our winery project and give details on the upcoming first vintage release.  My blog will be incorporated into a component of the website, so stay tuned!

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Vintage ‘08 is upon us and to this point things have been…well…in a word …WET!!  Enough rain already.  I mean just when I thought we were in the clear we got doused by the remnants of a hurricane, and for the record: I don’t like Ike. Thankfully, the last couple of weeks have more than made up for the rain, with plenty of sunshine and perfect ripening conditions for the early varietals.

As per usual, the “Heartbreak Grape”, Pinot Noir, lived up to its moniker and provided lots of nervous moments and second guessing.  In fact, one day in the vineyard while pondering a harvest timing decision, I found myself singing aloud to the Clash hit “Should I Stay or Should I Go”.  The Pinot were clean but slightly underripe, with threatening weather on the horizon (“If I go there will be trouble / And if I stay it will be double”).  Ultimately, we decided not to pick and wait out what suddenly became Hurricane Ike.  All the water led to some berries actually splitting and roused us into action.  Led by a Pinot-loving mother hell-bent on saving her crop, the three of us spent two mind-numbing days cutting out individually split berries and underripe clusters.  On September 16th and 17th we finally hand-picked our first two tonnes of fruit.  In the end, what came in was ripe, clean (thus receiving the Wilma stamp of approval) and fermented into some really intriguing stuff.  I experimented with a new yeast strain this season called W15, which after pressing today, is the early favourite to put into our 2 new Sirugue barrels.

The whites, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, are happily fermenting in the cold room of our barn as I write this.  I decided to add a single barrel ferment to the Pinot Gris regime this year, in an attempt to add a bit more complexity and refined mouthfeel to the final blend.  The majority will still be fermented in stainless steel because it worked so well last season.   From “the never do that again” file, we actually bottled our 2007 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris between the days we picked the 2008 crops of each varietal.  Any winery employee will profess that harvesting and bottling are not meant to intermingle, but sometimes you just have to make room for the new stuff.  The ’07 whites will be a part of our initial release slated for the beginning of November.

The Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are still hanging strong and starting to pick up sugar and enhanced flavours on a daily basis.  I’ll keep you posted as the rest of Vintage ‘08 unfolds.  Better yet, stop by for a chat and taste a few berries yourself!